Just because they're in a hospital setting, doesn't mean patients are exempt from prosecution, and nurses leaders should be remind their staff of that, Johnson-Kelley says.
If the nurses endure a particularly violent or disturbing event, Johnson-Kelley says the staff will do a "huddle" afterwards to "talk with everybody about what happened and get everyone's feelings out." Nurse leaders should also follow-up with abused nurses to see how they're coping.
Here are a few other tips from Johnson-Kelley:
Although violent patient behavior may never go away, perhaps especially in the ED, the commenter on last week's column is correct: "Certainly more needs to be done to protect medical staff." Mandatory crisis prevention courses might not be the whole answer, but they are a start. So, too, are leaders who provide support and education to nurses.
"I don't tolerate it," Johnson-Kelley says. "It's not acceptable at any level for anybody to either verbally or physically abuse the staff here."